One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2017 was that I wanted to start traveling again! Ever since my first International trip to Ecuador when I turned 21, I’ve wanted to travel the globe. And I have been fortunate enough to wander all over the US and the Caribbean every year, but still I really wanted to venture out more and do some more international travel. So when the opportunity came up to visit French Canada with my awesome friend and fellow wedding vendor Laura from Laura Reynolds Artistry I was beyond excited! I immediately downloaded Duolingo on my phone and started practicing my French. ;) Oui!
Our first stop was Montreal which was literally the equivalent of a flight to NYC from Orlando, only you are transported into a magical European feeling city where the stop signs say Arret and the exit signs read Sortee. (We were super enthralled with these two signs in particular, lol!) Everyone around you is speaking French which is just a beautiful language to listen to, and they actually greet you with bonjour along the streets which really tripped me out because it was like Beauty & the Beast in real life! Yet they also speak English which comes in pretty handy when you’re ready to order some poutine. If you haven’t tried this magnificent Canadian bowl of french fry + gravy amazingness you haven’t yet lived– I kid you not. But all of the food there was amazing and even my vegan travel buddy found something delicious to try at every turn. Talk about the ultimate foodie destination!
We visited in July and the weather in the Summer was absolutely incredible and such a nice break from the suffocating heat in Orlando. It was about 70-something every single day and it was so breezy and sunny. Apparently they have very short Summers there so everyone takes advantage of the amazing weather to spend time outside and it really was just perfect for wandering the streets. Montreal was such a walkable city, I literally racked up about 10 miles on my step-tracker every single day and I wasn’t even mad about it. At one point we totally stumbled upon a drum circle that they do in the park every Sunday and we were surrounded by the nicest massive group of drumming stoners ever. It was epic. They also have these city-wide bike rentals called Bixi that you can rent to take you from one part of town to another and although we didn’t take it, the whole concept was pretty cool. Getting around there definitely was not an issue.
We did do a guided bike tour through Old Quebec which was absolutely magical! We got to see all of the amazing sights and we got to ride through rush hour traffic in the city which was pretty nuts. I’m not going to lie I did wonder what type of insurance the bike tour company had at one point, but it was super exhilarating. We also got to visit the Notre Dame Basilica Catholic Church which was truly awe inspiring– I’ve never seen anything quite that beautiful in my life. All of the architecture in Old Quebec was just gorgeous, it literally had me gasping at every turn.
We were also super lucky to wander upon the massive Summer Music Festival ‘Festival d’été de Québec’ they host every year in Quebec! We had no idea it was going on while we were there and although tickets were sold out, we were able to catch some free shows and listen to the other private concerts from a hill in a nearby park. I can’t even describe how awesome the entire experience was!
While on our random wandering adventures we also stumbled upon some moving art exhibits that were coming through the streets. From head to toe painted models acting as mannequins, to people dressed up as super authentic sheep (one of which made it’s way into our restaurant “baaa”-ing at customers), to men with their heads in these enormous fish tank looking things! It was super weird and awesome in every way.
I can’t say enough great things about Montreal and Quebec City and I am so happy I got to experience them both! French Canada definitely stole my heart in a way I never thought it would. And because of the currency conversion, it wasn’t even an expensive visit. If you haven’t considered Canada as a vacation spot for your next Summer vacay (or honeymoon!), I really think you should put it on the list. There is no way you will be disappointed!